A.J. McKee’s next fight may look as a passing from his championship pursuit, but his attention remains firmly on the prize.

The 23-year-old featherweight matches Daniel Crawford in Bellator 212 this Friday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu and though the unheralded Crawford can be really a insecure opponent to take on, McKee is treating as seriously as his initial 1 2 pro bouts.

He recently told MMA Fighting he enjoys the noise of 13-0 and as crucial as it is for him to find a shot current champion Patricio Freire, a target McKee called out later scoring a first-round knock out of John Macapa at September, he isn’t awaiting for “pit-bull ” to pickup the phone. His aim is to keep busy until there isn’t any other option but only and also for Bellator after asserting one will consider departing the branch.

“I need my buckle,” McKee explained. “This is an accolade. That is just a credential. This is similar to a troop getting a badge once he comes back. That’s something I need. I want my name. I want to become undefeated and that also I need my name. I need my belt before I move off playing 155 and doing all of the other stuff. I don’t care rsquo;so infront of me. I want my belt. I’m breaking records. Nobody ’so doing exactly what I’t performing. Nobody & dividing records and rsquo; s holding files and ongoing documents such as I am. I believe rent ’so put of my records on the line at the same time. Let’therefore perform it.

“Undefeated, champion, for my belt. I’d say ‘many finishes’ as I know I’m coming that soon. Let’s find out exactly what some anxiety &rsquo. I’ve. ”

McKee knows a thing or two. He’s manufactured some for himself to see exactly what it was like. In November of last year, McKee Puton the grittiest operation of his career, living late-notice replacement Brian Moore’s second-round spike at Bellator 187 before slipping into their or her own reserves to come back and conquer Moore having a rear-naked choke in round three. McKee traveled into rsquo & Moore;s home country of Ireland for the bout with only two weeks of training, a move his father and coach Antonio warned him against.

But McKee just wanted to fight.

One place McKee is drawing on the line at is participating in a feather-weight prix at the vein of those tournaments that are welterweight and heavyweight that Bellator has gather. McKee isn & rsquo; t enthusiastic in a structure which could force him to wait for his fracture in a belt as open always to taking on all challengers, as he could be. The earlier he gets that opportunity, the earlier they could clean the path because of his good friend and teammate Aaron Pico to keep the reign of Team Bodyshop.

“I don’t even believe I should need to experience a tournament,” McKee explained. “I still need that belt that is 145-pound off to 155 pounds and quick I move. I’m 2 3, ” I ’m getting bigger m getting stronger. My weight reductions rsquo, aren &;t even getting easier, rsquo they &;;re getting harder. Being 2 3, I want to go play around with &lsquo. Watch that which it’so just like there up, feel quicker and stronger. Test out some guys, guys that are bigger.

“And at the close of your afternoon, Pico’so in 145 too. I’m definitely going to go bankrupt ‘pit-bull ’ out or take down whoever and perform exactly what I really do. And now Pico, rsquo & he;s 4 1, he’s young in their own career. & rsquo; s there, those two years and I was simply there, it went tremendously fast. He’s to having belt over a year. Within a calendar year, I plan on being the champ. So since I’m on my way out, he’s on his way in. We’r e like yin and yang from the gym, we’re pees in a pod, like two squirrels. ”

McKee may &rsquo. It’SA characteristic he picked up in Antonio, who battled 37 times across the course of a 15-year career, plus yet one which he realized he shares with MMA legend Chuck Liddell. “The Iceman” worked closely with the McKees in preparation for his comeback bout contrary to Tito Ortiz plus they were at Liddell’so corner after he fell to his longtime rival this past November.

The end result wasn’t exactly what McKee or Liddell wanted and he comprehends the complaint surrounding the 48-year-old former UFC champion’therefore decision to return to fighting; nevertheless, he also spoke highly of the knowledge being a whole.

“It was amazing. It was the thing I’t done in my career so far, merely to be able to work with him,”” McKee explained. “he ’s such a amazing person. I know both sides of the narrative, because of his family, his associates, and his fans. Friends, fans, and coaches. Why? Being a fan of Chuck since I was a young child was so extraordinary, it was amazing. I wanted to work with him and also he wished to fight so I understood where he was coming out of.

“Afterward his friends and family, they don’t even want to see him get hurt just like that. That’s becoming hurt or t even want to see anyone get knocked out. I used to be damn near in tears when he got knocked out. I am hurt by it. Why? That is because I know what type of man. That’therefore one of. He’s only so true as a person. I love that about himpersonally, I love the opportunity, I love his close associates, his family, and his fans. I’t never seen anyone have the stadium cheer and lose a fight. That’therefore type of something that I ’t put in to my career and that I ’t and that I &rsquo. Be who you’re ”

That degree of esteem is that which McKee is currently striving for as he means four of his fighting career. He looked poised to make a jump in fame when he was matched up with former Bellator featherweight king Pat Curran at September, just to see Curran bow with an accident and also be replaced by Macapa.

That’s certainly one of the Bellator vets who McKee has been trying to get his hands on and until they can begin adding those forms of scalps into his group , he’so material to maintain making a good illustration of whoever the matchmakers line up because of him.

“I’m grinding at this time,” McKee explained. ’ I & ldquo;t pullout. I was supposed to fight Emmanuel Sanchez. I was supposed to resist Henry Corrales.

“But at the close of the afternoon it’s maybe not affecting me and what I have ta do. It’therefore type of fueling me because I believe that you guys don&rsquo. Certainly, that’s telling me some thing. I am being ducked by you guys or you guys don’t even wish to fight or you are aware that belt once it strikes my waist it’therefore are not moving anywhere, so they really don&rsquo. ”

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